Please note that the manifesto I present to you in this weeks 'Damo Bit' is just food for thought. Like everyone, I want whatís best for our rugby league community. This is probably my last throw of the dice when it comes to engaging everybody in a debate about RLFANS in general and how it can evolve.
Last week I spoke to Geoff Lee who has been the main distributor of the TGG magazine for the last fifteen years. He said heíd mention me at the Supporters Direct conference held last Saturday about the passion I have in encouraging more fans to write about the game.
I believe that if we have a strong grassroots network of writers then weíll have a strong group of writers in the mainstream media that rugby league has failed to crack. At the moment grassroots rugby league writers donít really have strong platforms to write on. RLFANS fansites could provide that strong platform.
Before I get onto my manifesto, I just want to say that it takes two to Tango and Iím not willing to spend months writing to an audience that doesnít want to read or engage. Iíd rather just stick to doing what Iím doing every week with the Damo-Bit than lobbying to be ignored. This isnít perfect but itís a starting point. All I can say is - please be patient whilst reading this as Iíve not had the best of training when it comes to Ďproper writingí and Ďproper grammarí. Either way its understandable to those who want to understand.
Here it is -
Damoís RLFANS Blueprint
Frustrated at the lack of opportunities for rugby league writers (or even writers in general) Iíve decided to take matters into my own hands by suggesting a few ideas that would create these opportunities through RLFANS.
I want to start by answering this question that I asked myself -
If Rugby League World/League Express (aka totalrl.com) can have its own forums then why canít RLFANS have its own newspapers and books?
First of all Iíd like to acknowledge that TotalRL has a stable forum, but its popularity is second to RLFANS. My conclusion is TotalRL is best at publication and RLFANS is best at forums. RLFANS only set out to become a fans forum, whilst Total RL set out to be some media powerhouse within Rugby League along with tapping into fan forums.
However, over the years RLFANS has had fansites emerge such as southstander.com, cherryandwhite.co.uk and blackandwhites.co.uk which have featured online rugby league publications. Unfortunately a lot of other RLFANS fansites have declined over the years thanks to reasons I canít explain because I donít know the full story.
But in 2011 I think we need to tap into this fansite market by making sure that every Super League forum on RLFANS has a strong fansite. Fansites that include columnists, match reporters (that might be hard to get) and anything else that I couldnít think of.
Below are some more of my ideas starting with our beloved Southstander.com.
Southstander.com Improvement Ideas
- Keep the same team on (myself, paul, mark, Mr X, Number 2 & others) along with a new weekly guest columnist from the forums as it proved successful during the Wembley week.
Other RLFANS Fansite Ideas
- An active fansite for every Superleague club that features columnists, match reporters and anything else that I couldnít think of. This may mean reactivating some of the Ďabandonedí ones.
The Virtual Terrace Ideas
The Virtual Terrace probably is the most popular rugby league forum on the whole network. Unfortunately its fansite (rlsa.rlfans.com) seems to be abandoned.
I feel that its time to either re-launch the RLSA website as something bigger and better than before or bring a new fansite thatíll match the virtual terrace in terms of quality.
Re-launching the RLSA will also mean re-launching the TGG magazine that was left in the limbo earlier this year thanks to the disappearance of two people who had taken over as joint editors a couple of issues earlier. Either way the Virtual Terrace needs a fansite that does it Justice. Just like Southstander.com does its forums a good service.
I hope to discuss this further with Geoff Lee.
The Sin Bin Ideas
The Sin Bin features some of the most passionate debaters on the internet that I know of. I think RLFANS should use the Sin Bin as a tool to draw people in who like to debate about general topics into rugby league. After all rugby league clubs use hospitality to draw people to the games. Why canít we use great general debate to draw people into rugby league.
Now I could release a monster with this one.
- A sinbin fansite with columnists
Lets say we have five columnist for each weekday. For example, the team could consist of Mugwump, Mintball, McLaren_Field, Wigan_Fan & cod'ead. All hold different views and are proven providers of a great read on the forums. I recon all five have the potential to be some of the top bloggers in the country if given the right platform and support from all us here on the forums!
And Finally - Once Everything Is Up And Running Ideas
If these ideas materialise then Iím assuming that RLFANS would have a very strong case to publish its own newspapers/books as itíd have a pool of talented writers to draw from.
In the long run Iíd love to see RLFANS have NRL club forums on here.
Wouldnít it be ace if we could have RL Online under one roof, under the umbrella of RLFANS?
Finally I hope that someone with more experience with this kind of stuff take me under their wing so these ideas can develop.